The murmur of the soft playing band is a whisper compared to the soundless hubbub of silent conversations. The glass is cool in my hand, the ice almost melted, but not quite, still holding onto the last vestiges of its rigid state. The narrow stem glimmers in the light of the rings of Saturn. They are there. An impossibility outside the rounded floor to ceiling window into pure nothing. Clean strokes from the hand of a god long past, each bristle of the ancient brush having left a neon trail of glimmering ice and rock. It sweeps like a path, away, curving behind the dust blown giant that peeks out in one corner of the viewport.
“Wha-…who might you be?”
“The Butler sir, could I trouble you with a drink?”
“Sure, what is available?”
“Yes sir, you see alcohol is not allowed before your trip.”
“Yes sir, the train, you do remember don’t you?”
“Oh dear, well at the O’clock it will disembark.”
“What time is it now?”
“Does it matter?”
“Where does the train go?”
“Sir?…Nowhere, of course…”
He strides off, tray balanced on the arm, laden with a wide variety of water.
“The Train…to…Nowhere…what on earth could that mean?”
“And what might be so funny, metal man?”
“You question the rationality of a train, and yet here you are, talking to a metal man, in a room above the rings of Saturn.”
He wheels away.
“He has a point…but what if I wish to stay here?”
“An’ why would’ya do somethin’ as stupid as tha’?”
“Wha-, sorry, you made me jump, who might you be sir?”
“Th’ name’s Saldor.”
“Well…Saldor…I don’t know what lies within the train…or where it damn well goes for that matter.”
“An’ so what? All tha’ is ‘ere is this bloody ‘orrible bore.”
“But this is not so bad…”
“Per’aps, bu’ even if th’ wors’ possible thing happen’d on th’ train, tha’ would be somethin’…this is nothin’.
“Nothing…is better than something horrible”
“per’aps, but tha’s the beauty o’ it, the wors’ can ‘appen, an’ th’ best can ‘happen.”
“…Perhaps you are right, good man, wisdom does come from strange places indeed.”
And I step aboard the train, at precisely the o’clock. The door slides shut behind me and the train begins its long passage upon the rings of saturn, to a destination far beyond the solar system, to intergalactic space, to its infinitely far destination. I turn, and realize, there is every drink imaginable. I pour red wine into a glass, it sloshes like the raging sea, yearning to be free. The corner of my mouth twitches upward. They were right.